Elect Valerie F.

Leonard Alderman, 24th Ward
“A leader for such a time as this”

Valerie F. Leonard, 24th Ward Aldermanic Candidate Pledges to Be Business Friendly
Valerie F. Leonard, candidate for Alderman of the 24th ward, unveiled her plan for economic and job development at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, December 28, 2010, at the Carey Tercentenary AME Church at 1448 South Homan Avenue. She pledged as Alderman, “To make sure our government is more business friendly.” Leonard’s plan includes: a business creation plan, designing a comprehensive and customized jobs training program for high growth industries, building a digital community, and the redevelopment of commercial corridors, including Cicero Avenue, Pulaski, Ogden, 16th Street, Roosevelt Road and Kedzie Avenue. Leonard pledged to promote collaboration with schools and businesses on how to prepare youth with the skills needed as future employees. In addition to focusing on employees, she vowed to attend to the needs of small business owners, saying she would promote more hand-holding and space for business incubation. Additionally, she said new businesses could be attracted to the Ward by offering tax relief and improving infrastructure development. The meeting also included speakers who addressed the need to increase tax savings, job training, and technology for seniors. O.S. Owen, a financial educator with the Center for Economic Progress, spoke to the audience about the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. He called tax filers can use the government sponsored program as a tool to increase the amount of their tax returns as well as their wealth. Owens cautioned the audience against signing their returns as self-prepared if a so-called professional prepared them. He said the preparer should sign his/her name and contact information on the statements. This is especially important in the event there are any follow-up questions regarding the statements. Owen said the Center for Economic Progress provides free tax preparation services to individuals with incomes less than $25,000 and families with incomes less than $50,000. Don Samuelson, founder of DSSA Consulting, told the crowd, which included many seniors, about a federally-funded technology program he brought to parts of the 24th Ward with the assistance of Leonard. He said it offers real potential for seniors and low-income individuals to become entrepreneurs and use the Internet to market their businesses. Seniors also benefit by being able to stay in communication with their family members, especially grandchildren who may be away at college. The program has built computer centers with broadband Internet connection, at three assisted living buildings in North Lawndale and Austin. It includes access to individual units and on-site instruction for

4111 West 21st Place Chicago, IL 60623 Phone 773-521-3137 Fax: 773-521-3137 Website: http://Vote4Valerie.voterspace.com Blog: http://Vote4Valerie.blogspot.com Paid for by Citizens to Elect Valerie F. Leonard

two years. It also provides free computers. The centers are located at Bethel New Life, Sankofa House, and Habilitative Systems Inc. Samuelson suggested that anyone interested in participating in the program contact one of the local centers about outreach opportunities to bring the program to their senior communities or churches. Val Jordan, of Breaking Ground, spoke at the town hall meeting about the state of manufacturing in the Ward. Located at 3501 West Fillmore, Breaking Ground runs the Manufacturing Training Center and Teaching Factory for Lawndale and Garfield Park residents. Jordan shared that the decline of manufacturing in North Lawndale is not as simple as attributing it to the high unemployment rate. Instead, he noted the devastating impact of the drug industry and loss of basic skills among residents of working age. Jordan estimated there are more than 300 manufacturing jobs in the 60623 and 60624 zip code areas, however, a dependable and trained work force is lacking. When employers are asked what they are looking for, the number answer is a “drug-free” employee and someone willing to “punch that clock early and show up everyday.” The strength of Breaking Ground, said Jordan, is it provides basic skills training but also models the work place to its trainees, including using time cards and doing drug tests. Individuals don’t have to be drug free at the beginning of training but the goal is to be drug free at its completion. The majority of people trained at Breaking Ground are ex-offenders and people without a high school diploma. Training classes begin the first of each month. The town hall meeting was the second in a series of five meetings planned to allow 24th Ward residents to discuss their concerns about community issues and to get to know the candidate. Remaining meetings and their topics are Health and Public Safety on January 11, 2011; Housing on January 25; and City Finances and the Budget on February 8. All meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m., at Carey Tercentenary AME Church located at 1448 South Homan Avenue. For more information, contact Willie Cole at 312-675-0240.

4111 West 21st Place Chicago, IL 60623 Phone 773-521-3137 Fax: 773-521-3137 Website: http://Vote4Valerie.voterspace.com Blog: http://Vote4Valerie.blogspot.com Paid for by Citizens to Elect Valerie F. Leonard